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HQ 959269

May 8, 1997

CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 959269 CAB


TARIFF NO.: 6204.13.2010; 6204.19.2000; 6214.30.0000; 6214.10.1000

Gail T. Cumins, Esq.
Sharretts, Paley, Carter & Blauvelt P.C.
Sixty-seven Broad Street
New York, NY 10004

RE: Reconsideration of NY A81770, dated May 21, 1996; Heading 6204; Heading 6214; set vs. composite good

Dear Ms. Cumins:

This is in response to your inquiry of May 21, 1996, requesting reconsideration of New York Ruling Letter (NY) A81770, dated May 3, 1996, concerning the classification of certain women's garments pursuant to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA). This request is on behalf of your client Sassco Fashions. Samples were submitted for examination and will be returned to you under separate cover.


The articles at issue which are women's suits and scarves are referred to as Styles 2888, 2215, 4504, and G950. Style 2888 is a tan colored suit comprised of a jacket and skirt of 100 percent polyester woven fabric and a 100 percent polyester woven scarf. The jacket contains a loop in the back of the neck through which the color coordinated printed scarf measuring 14.5 x 52 inches is threaded. Style 2215 consists of a jacket and skirt comprised of 50 percent polyester and 50 percent acetate woven fabric and a 100 percent color coordinated silk scarf measuring 14 x 52 inches. The jacket contains a loop in the back of the neck area through which the scarf is threaded. Style 4504 consists of a jacket and skirt constructed of 100 percent and 50 percent acetate woven fabric and a 100 percent woven scarf. The woven scarf measures 17 x 62 inches and is color coordinated with the jacket and skirt. Style G950 is comprised of a jacket and skirt constructed of 70 percent rayon and 30 percent woven fabric and a color coordinated polyester woven fabric scarf measuring 14 x 62 inches.

In NY A81770, all of the garments and scarves were classified as women's woven suit sets put up for retail sale, under either subheading 6204.13.2010 or subheading 6204.19.2000, HTSUSA.


Whether the suits and color coordinated scarves are classifiable as composite goods or sets?


Classification of goods under the HTSUSA is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's). GRI 1 provides that classification shall be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Merchandise that cannot be classified in accordance with GRI 1 is to be classified in accordance with subsequent GRI's taken in order.

Heading 6204, HTSUSA, is the provision for women's suits among other articles. There is no dispute that the subject jackets and skirts are classifiable as women's suits under Heading 6204, HTSUSA. Heading 6214, HTSUSA, is the provision for shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas, veils and the like. As the tariff does not contain a heading that specifically provides for suits and scarves, together, classification cannot be based on GRI 1. The issue in this case is whether the scarves and suits are classifiable as sets or whether the scarves and suits are classifiable as composite goods.

GRI 3 applies to goods that are prima facie classifiable under two or more headings. GRI 3 states, in pertinent part, the following:

(b) Mixtures, composite goods consisting of different materials or made up of different components, and goods put up in sets for retail sale, which cannot be classified by reference to 3(a), shall be classified as if they consisted of the material or component which gives them their essential character, insofar as this criterion is applicable.

The Explanatory Notes to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (EN), although not legally binding, are the official interpretation of the tariff at the international level. The EN to GRI 3(b), provides, in part:

(IX) For the purposes of this Rule, composite goods made up of different components shall be taken to mean not only those in which the components are attached to each other to form a practically inseparable whole but also those with separable components, provided these components are adapted one to the other and are mutually complementary and that together they form a whole which would not normally be offered for sale in separate parts.

You contend that suits and scarves are designed and intended to be worn together and are mutually complementary. You further contend the scarves have no real commercial use without the suits with which they were designed to be worn and due to the finishing of the edges and the flimsy nature of the material, the scarves are not of the kind normally offered for sale separately. Therefore, the subject suits and scarves should be classified as composite goods.

You cite three Customs Headquarters Ruling Letters (HQ), HQ 086009, dated February 7, 1990, HQ 950563, dated February 14, 1992, and HQ 084325, dated July 11, 1989, in support of the your claim that the instant articles are composite goods. In both 086009 and 950563, the articles at issue were a jacket, skirt, and handkerchief. In 084325, the articles at issue were a skirt and a scarf-like item formed by seaming two smaller triangles together. In all of the cited cases the accessory and the other articles were classifiable as composite goods as the accessory articles did not have a separate commercial identity.

In this case, due to the dimensions, finishing, and overall design of the subject scarves, they are of a kind of product which is normally offered for sale separately. Moreover, after investigation by Customs, we were able to locate many similar articles sold at various stores which were offered for retail sale without being accompanied by any other goods. Finally, in HQ 953298, dated June 14, 1993, Customs classified a color coordinated jacket, skirt and scarf measuring 14 x 56 inches as a suit with the scarf being classified separately for entry purposes. Consequently, the subject suits and scarves are not classifiable as composite goods, instead they are classifiable as a set put up for retail sale, under Heading 6204, HTSUSA, with the scarf being reported separately for textile restraint purposes.

It is important to note that recently in Q 960047, dated February 20, 1997, Customs determined that an evening dress, belt, and shawl were classifiable as a composite good and not as a set as in the instant case. In the case therein the dress was constructed of 100 percent polyester woven fabric with piping around the neckline and armhole openings which was made of 82 percent rayon/18 percent silk velvet fabric piping. The dress belt was constructed of the same velvet fabric of the piping. The fabric for the shawl wrap was cut from the same bolt of fabric as the piping material on the dress and the fabric of the belt. In that case, due to overall construction of the particular shawl and the fact that it was relatively common for an evening dress to be designed and sold at retail with a shawl-like wrap as a single commodity, Customs is of the opinion that HQ 960047 is distinguishable from the instant case.


Based on the foregoing, the classification of Style 2888 is subheading 6204.13.2010, HTSUSA, which is the provision for other women's suits, of synthetic fibers. The applicable rate of duty is 36.8 cents/kg plus 27 percent ad valorem. The textile restraint category is 644. Styles 2215, 4505, and G950 are classifiable in subheading 6204.19.2000, HTSUSA, which provides for other women's suits, of other textile materials. The applicable rate of duty is 36.8 cents/kg plus 27 percent ad valorem. The textile restraint category is 644. For textile restraint purposes, the
scarves for Styles 2888, 4504, and G950 are reported in subheading 6214.30.0000, HTSUSA, which provides for shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas, veils and the like, of synthetic fibers. The textile restraint category is 659.

NY A81770 is affirmed.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent renegotiations and changes, to obtain the most current information available, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an internal issuance of the U.S. Customs Service, which is available for inspection at your local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories applicable to textile merchandise, you should contact your local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Tariff Classification Appeals

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